HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata men's basketball team looked to be on their way to an easy win before Washington and Jefferson stormed back late to make the last few minutes interesting; but the Eagles held on for a 69-62 victory Tuesday evening in Memorial Gymnasium.
Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) scored inside and then drilled a three off a pass fromBrandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) to pull the Eagles within one, 6-5 in the opening four minutes of the game. Holsopple returned the favor as he found Martinazzi for layup. Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) was fouled while shooting a three and made all three free throws to put Juniata ahead 10-9. Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) hit Martinazzi for another layup which tied things at 12-12 with a little over nine minutes to go in the first half.
Martinazzi split a pair of free throws before Ethan Haupt (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) threw it inside to Holsopple for a layup which made it 17-12.
Martinazzi pumped faked to get his defender in the air, crossed over from right to left to get by a second defender before he lost the ball. He quickly picked it back up in the paint and rose up for a short jumper to push the Eagle advantage to 19-15 with just under four minutes to play.
Martello stole the ball and went sprinting the other way before converting a layup to make it 22-17 with a minute and half to go in the half. Neither team scored again as the Eagles took a five-point lead into the locker room.
Juniata scored 17 of their 22 points of Washington & Jefferson turnovers. The Eagles forced the Presidents into 16 first half turnovers.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Eagles went on a 28-13 to push their lead to 20 as Juniata led, 50-30 with nine minutes and fifty-two seconds left to play. Washington & Jefferson chipped away at the lead, and a converted and-one sliced the JC lead to single digits, 57-49, with five minutes left.
Holsopple scored inside and Martinazzi made a foul shot as JC tried to preserve the lead, but with a little under three minutes to go in the contest W&J sunk two foul shots to get within two, 60-58.
Martinazzi converted a tough runner inside to push the lead back to four. W&J came down and got several looks at the hoop, but couldn't convert. One of their players tried to save the ball from going out under their own hoop, but Nathan Markey (York, Pa. / Central York) intercepted the attempted save. He tossed the ball ahead to Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) who glided in for a left-hand layup to push the advantage back to six 64-58. W&J came down and scored inside. The Eagles tried to run the clock down on their next possession, and wound up having to take a long three as the shot clock was set to expire. Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) grabbed the offensive board, which forced the Presidents to foul.
Juniata made enough foul shots down the stretch to win, 69-62.
Martinazzi also tallied a career-high with 26 points to with his four rebounds and four assists.
Juniata held a 34-16 edge in points in the paint and a 29-15 edge points off turnovers. The Presidents held the edge on the glass, 33-26.
It was a physical contest as the teams combined for 54 fouls and 55 foul shots.
Juniata returns to action after Thanksgiving, at Alvernia, Sunday at 2:00 PM.